About two weeks into Psychology 101, I found out the official name of my obnoxious and cruel inner critic. “Super-ego”, Freud called it. “Her Holiness the Dictator of Shoulds” is perhaps a bit more apt.
On her throne, Madame Dictator sees fit to hyperactively nitpick. She bestows doubt on the things I have yet to do and guilt on the things I have done. Most of all, she opens her mouth to make haughty statements of shame on the things I want desperately to do but lack the courage to initiate. Her Holiness never gets her hands dirty — she gets me to carry out the punishing.
But this morning I refuse the stone the Dictator of Shoulds puts in my hand to throw at ‘bad me’ and I flee.
I flee to the pleasure of walking along my length of park, hands jammed in hoodie where my fingers pick at the fuzzy lint and grow warm. I pad over the muddy gravel with smooth footfall and think on my someday child and I having many crisp walks like this – our eyes devouring the VW van sitting on the curb (a vision of retro orange on dark concrete) and the brazen ducks who come to snack on the old gentleman’s sandwich crumbs. And when I’m home I relish the walk still, wondering how to properly ode this freedom that washes over me as I let my feet and heart ramble away from the tyrant’s court.
Do you have a hyperactive inner critic, too? How do you rebel?